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This fact was impressed with all the forcefulness of bitter experience upon many of those who undertook ‘‘the finest walk in the world’’ (the Milford Sound trip) during the past holiday season, and, as a result, the Tourist Department is being roundly condemned for its apparent laxity and short-sightedness.
It is not that the track itself is in bad repair, but serious charges are made against the condition of the huts along the route and the boats which are in commission over various stages of the journey. Mr James Rodger, architect to the Otago Education Board, left Dunedin for Milford on the day before Christmas, and, in conversation with a Daily Times reporter yesterday, he recounted some of his experiences.
At Glade House the conditions of board and lodging were only fair, and the accommodation was taxed beyond the bounds of comfort. At the Pompolona huts, which mark the first stage of the walk overland, there is accommodation for 20 men and 10 women, but at times, said Mr Rodger, there were between 60 and 70 people there.
The Quinton huts, which are supposed to be in a very bad state of repair, and in thorough need of an overhaul; and the same remark applies to the Sandfly huts, which mark the final stage of the journey. It was very evident, added Mr Rodger, that the department did not commence its preparations for the tourist season early enough, nor did it make proper arrangements for the regulation of the traffic when once it had started.
The quality and the quantity of the food which was supplied along the route came in for especially strong condemnation at the hands of Mr Rodger. A round charge of 3s was made for all meals, he stated, and the majority of these consisted of tinned meat (bully beef), tinned fruit, and tea.
That was the menu for lunch and breakfast, and it could not be described as very ‘‘high living’’ at the price.
A great deal of the trouble seemed to be due to the fact that there were too many people on the track, the effect of this being entirely to disorganise the traffic.
In the past it has been the custom to limit the number of persons on the route at one time to 12, but apparently the wisdom of this policy has not been recognised by those at present in control.
Purakaunui popular this year
Purakanui this year has enjoyed a well-merited popularity. The fine spell of good weather which has been experienced over the holiday period has no doubt largely contributes to this.
All the cottages and cribs have been fully occupied, and in addition a number of picnic parties have visited this favourite seaside resort.
The fishing this year has been excellent, and a number of large bags of kelp salmon of green bone have been secured by several enthusiasts who have spent their time on the rocks. A feature of the season was the sports meeting which was held on New Year's Day and the day following.
Mr M'Connochie, who inaugurated the event last year, was again to the fore, and canvassed the visitors for subscriptions to provide prizes and toys for the children.
He also, with the assistance of a committee of the residents and visitors, organised the meeting, which proved an unqualified success and was thoroughly enjoyed by all, especially the children.
— ODT, 10.1.1920
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